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Thesis

Lack of sexual desire and arousal in adult women survivors of childhood sexual abuse

27 July 1993

Abstract

The most recent empirical and qualitative studies indicate that at least one-half of adult heterosexual women survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience sexual dysfunctions due to their abuse histories. As few as 42% to as many as 88% of these sexual dysfunctions are in the first phase of the sexual response cycle (Le., sexual desire and arousal). All of these studies are mostly atheoretical and utilize a traditional performance model to analyze and interpret this data. It is proposed that this traditional framework may be too narrow a perspective of the sexual dysfunctions and the underlying psychosexual adjustment problems of the adult heterosexual woman survivor. A more integrative model of female sexuality is proposed that includes not only sexual functioning but sexual self-image, psychosexual functioning, and influential external stimuli. Directions for future research and practice guidelines are suggested.


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